I just got rid of my rolodex. That may sound like a weird statement to make in 2012, especially for a guy in the tech industry, but there seemed to be no way to square away the fact that I had hundreds of business cards and was being handed a dozen more every month without any technology solution to manage them.
Though I will complain about the efficiency of the business card, I don’t want to get rid of it. Business cards are ubiquitous across every industry and every job function. Everyone has one, and it would take a momentous shift in the way we network to find a more user-friendly solution to trading contact information. For all their value, however, they are terribly inefficient to manage when compared to modern solutions, like an address book on my phone.
That’s when I discovered Card2Contact, a simple app that allows me to store new business cards in my address book the moment I receive them. With my BlackBerry and the Card2Contact app, I can snap a picture of the business card I’m handed and press “Upload,” at which point the image of my new card zips away across the Internet to an individual in the Card2Contact team who manually enters the card’s information into a BlackBerry-ready contact card. Within a few minutes, the full contents of the card are uploaded back onto my BlackBerry.
I’ve tried other solutions before. I tried a scanner that would read the data on the business card by OCR then send the contact to Outlook, where I could import it to my BlackBerry while it Syncs, but every solution I tried was riddled with problems. In some cases, the OCR simply did not work. With the variety of font choices available these days, anyone who used a stylized font for their name or phone number would return a scrambled result from the OCR, resulting in junk contacts. If I went for a month without Syncing, I’d also be missing the contact information for many of my recent contacts, so when my cell rang with a number I didn’t recognize, there was an awkward “Sorry, who is this?” moment. Entering the data manually into my Contacts took about five minutes per contact, or an hour a month for me, maybe several hours for others – a waste of time.
Card2Contact is simple to install and use. The accuracy is impeccable. It’s a great conversation topic to take out my BlackBerry at networking events, snap a picture of their business card, and receive their contact information back in minutes. It’s the only solution I’ve found that allows me to fully utilize the business card again as an easy and functional way of trading information.